Introducing Sustainability Terms: A Beginner’s Guide

Sustainability has received increased coverage over the years, but it can feel complex and overwhelming for those deep diving into the topic for the first time. To help, we briefly introduce a few must-know terms that you will often see in news and developments.

1) Net Zero

“Net zero” refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere, resulting in no additional contribution to global warming.

2) Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions an individual, organisation, or product generates. It includes emissions from energy use, transportation, and production processes. Understanding your carbon footprint is essential to reducing harm to the environment. Free carbon footprint calculators are readily available online, and banks have begun offering personalised carbon insights sharing how our lifestyles and spending contribute to emissions. Have you tried these out before?

3) Carbon Pricing

Carbon pricing is a policy tool used to put a price on carbon emissions (greenhouse gas emissions). It takes the form of either a carbon tax or a “cap and trade” system — where a quantitative limit for emissions is set and allocated via auction or for free. Organisations that emit less may be able to sell their emissions capacity, usually in credit form, to others who want them. Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to set a carbon tax applicable to any industrial facility that emits direct GHG emissions equal to or above 25,000 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) annually.

4) Circular economy

A circular economy is an economic system that aims to eliminate waste and reduce the consumption of resources. It involves designing products and processes that are sustainable and can be reused, repaired, or recycled. The goal is to create a “closed loop” economy, where zero waste is generated.

5) Sustainable development

As defined by the Brundtland Commission in 1987, sustainable development aims to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. It involves balancing economic, social, and environmental factors. You would have heard of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 to achieve by 2030. These global goals cover a range of issues, including climate action, clean energy, sustainable cities, and responsible consumption and production. All UN member states have adopted the SDGs.

6) United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP)

Held annually, the COP receives huge media coverage for good reason: it brings together world leaders, policymakers, scientists, and activists to discuss global efforts to address climate change. During this event, countries negotiate and agree on climate policies and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The number behind COP denotes the conference number. The Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement are the results and milestones of COP3 and COP21 respectively.

7) The Paris Agreement

Legally binding, the Paris Agreement is an international treaty. Under this agreement, countries aim to:
  • Limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
  • Limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
All countries must regularly report on their greenhouse gas emissions and progress towards meeting their targets. This is done through the establishing of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), that must be updated every five years. Singapore’s NDC, for example, aims to limit GHG emissions by 2030 at 60 MtCO2eq after peak.

8) Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Also known as Life Cycle Analysis, LCA is a popular assessment tool used to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal. It considers factors such as energy use, water consumption, and emissions to identify areas for improvement and reduce environmental impacts. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has guidelines for LCA processes that can be found in ISO 14040 and 14044. Many organisations obtain these certifications to show their compliance and commitment to environmental management.

What else is good to know?

Did you know green credit cards exist? We share about them and some other good-to-know things below. Green Credit Cards: Green credit cards have emerged in recent years to help fight climate change. Your bank may have one of its own, and they come in different varieties. Some are made of recycled plastic, some come with sustainability-focused card rewards, some allow you to set a limit to the climate impact of your spending. It’s something worth exploring if there’s a card that suits your needs! Sustainability reporting: In Singapore, sustainability reporting for listed companies in 2016. The reporting requires companies to disclose their sustainability practices, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. This helps investors make informed decisions and encourages companies to adopt sustainable practices. Green finance initiatives: In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has introduced several green finance initiatives to encourage companies to invest in sustainable projects. These include the Green Bond Grant Scheme, which provides grants to companies that issue green bonds, and the Green and Sustainability-Linked Loan Grant Scheme, which provides grants to companies that take out green loans. Green building incentives: Green building incentives include the Green Mark Certification Scheme, which awards buildings that meet certain environmental standards, and the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which provides tax incentives for companies that invest in energy-efficient equipment. We hope this helps you on your journey to learn more about this important field!

The Consequences of Overloading in University: My Advice

Click here for Part 1!

My Reflection:

Reflecting on my past two university years, I can say something. It is 100% a ‘me’ problem. Somehow, I find myself always saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities that come my way. While this is not a bad thing, it can become one. In the previous article, I talked a lot about my school, internship and CCA responsibilities, but what about my own ‘me time,’ my social life and my family? I still had to find what little time I had to cater for those. There were times I went home and barely interacted with my family because I was too busy catching up on sleep, or times when I had to cancel plans with friends for alone time. There are just a lot of factors to consider . I know some people who may get sensitive and feel disregarded or ignored, which is why I am so grateful to my friends and family for understanding my situation. Even if I was a bit distant, they only worried if I was getting enough rest. I felt bad because there were times when I was physically present in a hangout, but I was mentally elsewhere, and you can see the weeks of exhaustion show up in my eyes and eye bags. I am truly grateful for everyone who supported me during this time, especially since the past few months were busier and more difficult than year 1.

My Advice:

It may seem simple, but please learn to say ‘no.’ I know it may seem repetitive since, as students, we always receive advice with a similar sentiment, but to be honest, do we actually listen? Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to be more on the stubborn and overachieving side. In all honesty, I feel like I am a normal student, and I don’t feel super accomplished, but I have that side of me that wants to try everything — that wants to succeed in everything. However, we are only human. It is impossible to do everything all at once without losing part of yourself along the way. If you manage to do all that with no struggle, I applaud you, but not everyone can be like that. I can say that planning out your schedule definitely helps. It’s a visual representation of everything you must do. I recommend starting with putting your class schedule onto a calendar like Google Calendar or your phone calendar. From there, expand and start adding in your CCAs, and if you have any plans to go home or hang out with your family and friends, add those in too. After a while, you will be able to see on that calendar how much time you have for yourself to study or relax, and it can be quite overwhelming if you are the type who takes up any opportunity that goes their way as I do. Another thing to note is that if you have a vague idea of what your schedule will look like during the semester, plan it early. When it’s time to bid for your modules, you should have it ready. If you know that your CCA will end very late into the night and you won’t be sleeping early, it’s time to look out for modules that have classes or lectures in the afternoon. We can fool ourselves that we can wake up for those morning classes, and we may be able to at first. Realistically, it is not sustainable because exhaustion builds up. If whatever responsibility you have ends at 3 AM for 3 months straight, you won’t be able to wake up for that 8.30AM class by the 2nd month of that schedule. Trust me. Another thing is that if you know you’re going to end late and you’re the type to oversleep, don’t go for supper after trainings. Sure, it’s fine to hang out occasionally, especially if you have nothing the next day. However, it’s better for you to rest earlier and just hang out with your friends another time. The world can wait for you to be free, so don’t force yourself to free up time you don’t have.

The Importance of Rest:

I know it may seem redundant to have a whole section dedicated to rest, but I really want to emphasise the importance of rest. Lack of rest and sleep contribute to increasing stress levels, which in turn affects your mental and physical health. I don’t want to nag or mention too many scientific facts but catching up on rest is important and being sleep deprived is not a good thing. For more information about how sleep deprivation affects the body, you can watch this YouTube video: What Happens To Your Body And Brain If You Don’t Get Sleep | The Human Body Do not reject rest for the sake of your health. When tired, it’s easier to become more irritable or bothered by the smallest thing. I know I am more irritable when I’m tired, and I am not able to give my best in whatever I’m doing because I am too distracted with being tired. Don’t let your body crash before you start listening to it. Before you can give the best of yourself to others in whatever you’re participating in, you need to give the best of yourself to yourself. There is no such thing as ‘sleep is for the weak’ because having no sleep makes you weak. It makes us easily distracted, and exhausted, and we lose a bit of ourselves in the sense that there will always be a part of us that is mentally not there when we’re tired. We slip into daydreams more easily and may doze off more easily. So please, if you need to rest, just do it. Remember to put yourself first. If there is anything you can let go of, just let go of them for your own sake. Give up the things that may not be as important, and if everything is important, ask others for help. Don’t fight losing battles by yourself. You cannot give 100% every single time, and that is okay; it’s realistic. Remember to balance your time as much as possible and learn when to say ‘no’ to new opportunities. If you really want to say ‘yes’, make sure you plan your time well and let go of the other things that may not be super important. Give yourself leeway to rest and relax, even if it means resting by yourself. Your friends and family will understand if you cannot spend time for one week because you need time for yourself.


If you’re like me, STOP! Okay, I’m kidding. I know it’s hard, but learn when to say no and balance your time well. The rest of the world can wait for you, so stop thinking you must rush and finish everything that you think you need to do. You don’t need to do everything; just learn how to pick and choose more carefully. I know it may seem exciting to have access to so many different opportunities, but it’s okay to let go of some now. There will always be more in the future. The ability to take up new things does not stop at university: you could be working a full-time job at 50 years old, and opportunities will still come knocking at your door. So, don’t feel like time is running out because there will always be time to do something else and do more than what you’re capable of. I think something that helps me is asking myself whether, in 10 years, I will regret not taking up this opportunity. It helps me realise I may not even remember an experience in 10 years. For the ones I know I will keep close to my heart, I continue if I am able to. However, remember the worst regret 10 years from now is the regret of not taking care of yourself better. If your mental and physical health are suffering, choose to quit whatever is taking up the bulk of your time (if you can) and use that time for yourself. You are not alone, and people will always be available to help you throughout this journey. Good luck, and make sure to rest more!

The Consequences of Overloading in University: My Experience

Hello everyone, in this article, I will try to convince you not to take up too many responsibilities in university because of how detrimental this can be to your well-being. This is probably an overdrawn topic, seeing as stress and mental health wellness are being emphasised more to students. However, I know the temptations of opportunities can be very strong, especially during university. University seems like the perfect time to take up as many opportunities as possible — whether it’s within the school, hall or even outside. We’re young, we have the energy, and (sometimes we think) the time. However, how much time do we actually have? I guess it all depends on our course; our main responsibility is being a student, after all.

My Experience:

I study Philosophy at NTU, so it’s not exactly as intensive as other courses like EEE or Computer Science. Sure, we have a lot of readings to do, but the max number of AUs I can take per semester is 17 AUs: other courses can go up to 22 AUs before overloading. Therefore, it’s safe to say that I have a lot of time outside my studies. This means I should have enough time to balance my coursework, studying and other things, right? By this logic, I should have time to take up more responsibilities. That was what I thought too. For the past two years, I have, in a sense, been overloading myself with more and more responsibilities outside of my studies. The scary fact is that it’s almost like a testament to my capabilities after it’s all over. It’s a mix of feeling  ‘I survived those few months with that much on my plate, so that means I can do it again’ and thoughts of ‘how did I survive during that time?’ In Year 1, I planned on being a phantom, so I didn’t really sign up for many CCAs. I was only part of 1 main committee and 1 sub-committee within my hall, and another sub-committee from my CCA. However, my sub-committee in hall was the dance team, also known as Srethgie. Training for HOCC with Srethgie took up quite a lot of time, and it was very tiring. I was surprised with practices 5 days a week that lasted up till 3AM. However, it was something that I eventually got used to, and I love the team, so it’s not something that I regret. In hindsight, I admit that I didn’t realise how exhausted I was then. Like any other university student, I lacked sleep. However, due to my unfamiliarity with Srethgie’s schedule, I had a lot of morning classes when we were preparing for our HOCC performance. I went to class tired (if I even woke up on time for them), I would take random naps on benches around campus, and my mind was capable of listening to a 3-hour long lecture for ‘Intro to Psychology.’ I remember even my ex-roommate telling me that she was worried about me because of how exhausted I looked, and there were even times I fainted in the toilet because of exhaustion. The reality is that no matter how much I look back on those times with rose-tinted glasses because of how much fun I had with my friends, I was burnt out. I can’t speak for my friends, but I know there are others that experience a similar kind of burnout because of their own responsibilities to school, internship, CCAs or family. You would think I would have learnt how to manage my time better after all that, but the answer is no. Instead, I saw it as a challenge: if I could do it once, I could do it again, and I could do more. This year I was part of 1 main committee and 4 sub-committees in my hall, 1 main committee for my NTU CCA, and 2 different internships for Semester 1 and Semester 2, respectively. It sounds crazy, I know, but I am sure there are people out there with even more on their plate than I do. In Semester 1, I tried to do a full-time internship whilst studying, and I was slated to perform for a concert outside of NTU. On top of my CCAs and my studies, this took a toll on both my physical and mental health.

The Consequences I Experienced:

I think people often forget that some mental and physical health aspects are intertwined. When we’re stressed, it affects our mental health because we are worried and anxious, or we start to get mood swings. It’s just hard to calm down and relax during those times. However, when we’re stressed, it also raises our cortisol levels and affects our physical health. For example, we might start feeling extremely fatigued or suffer bad headaches. The stress from all my responsibilities in Semester 1 affected my immune system, and I wasn’t even that busy compared to Semester 2. I was sick every other week, and every time my sickness returned it seemed worse. I remember a day when I couldn’t get out of bed. Having moved into a single room this year, I didn’t have the luxury of a roommate to look after me the way my ex-roommate did before. Sure, I had friends that lived in the same block that checked up on me, but I felt like a burden because of how often it was happening. I remember having to miss classes, internship, dance sharings, and hangouts with my friends during this time. Of course, my sickness wasn’t directly caused by the stress of my responsibilities but by something else. The stress, however, certainly did not help me keep healthy. Therefore, I decided to cut out two things I knew I could control to focus on my health. I dropped out of the concert and quit my part-time internship because of how much my mental and physical health were suffering. Things slowly improved as the semester went on, but some of that heaviness that I felt earlier in the semester persisted until the semester break. During the semester break, my other responsibilities, such as HO training, and my 2nd try for internship started to pick up. This time, I planned to take a credit-bearing semester internship to try and take a break from my studies. However, I was still very much active in my other CCAs — or at least I tried to. There were times I had to choose; being a part of many different things, they inevitably clashed at one point. Therefore, I had to decide which to prioritise or if there was a possibility to compromise and prioritise both. My health was better, but my old injury acted up whilst training for HOCC. I admit I am guilty to ignoring my own needs because I’m so distracted by everything else that I chose to be a part of.

The Decisions I Made:

As health was something I needed to prioritise, I considered dropping out of HOCC. My weak immune system meant that I needed some operations, and my old injury was acting up. There was a part of me that felt like that would be best for both the team and me. It made sense: if I dropped out, I could focus on myself, and the team wouldn’t be burdened by me when I feel like I couldn’t give my fullest. However, after informing my captains that I needed to talk to them, I joined the practice for the night and decided to stay. I told them about my situation and my wish to stay, and they compromised by taking me out of some items so that I won’t push myself too much. I am so grateful to them for letting me stay and to my other dance friends for looking out for and taking care of me during HOCC trainings. It was my first time asking for help, and that’s something I want to emphasise in this article. You know yourself best, so when you know you can’t handle something, it’s okay to ask for help from those you trust. For my other CCAs, I started explaining my busy schedule or situation at that moment and asked for help if I couldn’t attend a meeting. While I could have done more, I am confident that I gave all I could during those moments. I just wish I had given more, but I wasn’t capable of it at that time. What about my internship? I did the same. I asked my intern buddy if she could help me every time I had a doctor’s appointment because I couldn’t access my laptop. In return, I tried to help her out as much as I could when I could. It was a little bit easier for me since I only had to be in the office twice a week: during those times, I would use my lunch break to catch up on sleep. This was not the best thing to do, but it was what I needed to do so that I could work properly throughout the day. To read more about the advice I have for anyone facing a similar situation, click to part 2!

How and What UEs to Choose at NUS

Hello, everyone! I’m back with yet another article. This time, it’s on unrestricted electives (or UEs)! Now, if you haven’t entered university yet, you probably have no idea what I’m referring to, and that’s perfectly fine. Allow me to explain: when you enter university, in order to graduate, you need a certain number of modules (i.e. classes) that are not part of your major requirements. For example, I’m a psychology major, and modules such as “Introduction to Psychology” are mandatory. However, aside from such modules, I also need to take other classes. These count as UEs and include anything ranging from linguistic studies and philosophy to coding! If you plan on taking a second major or a minor, you can use those modules to count for your unrestricted electives. For example, if I take both psychology and social work as a double major degree, the social work modules would count as ‘unrestricted electives’. Same thing would happen if I took a social work minor. But if you don’t really know what you want yet, or are like me and just don’t want another major or minor, you’ve come to the right place! I’ll be sharing my recommendations for UEs and explaining why you can consider taking them too. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal interests, so many will be related to my own preferences. However, there are  bmodules that are beneficial for your overall grade, so do read on!

1. Introduction Modules

If you’re looking for an easy way to clear your electives without using up too much of your time, the most common and natural method is to take introductive modules. Most introduction modules require minimal work and effort as they are students’ first encounters, including students studying that major, with the subject. Thus, it cannot be too overwhelming, nor can professors or lecturers mark you too harshly. However, do take note that some require much more work than others. For example, when taking the social work introduction module, I had a final exam for which I needed to memorize content. I also had a research essay on the social work services in Singapore. Fortunately, I was used to that type of work. However, this is in contrast to the EL1101E “Nature of Language” module. According to my friend, although she had group projects, she simply needed to submit reflections as part of the grading criteria. She didn’t have any final examinations. So, pick and choose your introduction modules wisely! If you’re looking for easier ones, EL1101E is one I recommend. I also recommend PL1101E, the Introduction to Psychology Module. There is no final examination, just weekly discussions, and weekly or biweekly quizzes you are graded on. Although the quizzes can be a bit tricky, you should be able to get by with a decent grade.

2. 1k Modules

For those unfamiliar with the university system, there are different levels of modules with (theoretically) different levels of difficulty. 1k modules (so any module where the module code has “1” as the first number) are considered the easiest in university. Some examples of 1k module codes include: PL1101E, PL1101E, GL1101E. The examples listed above are all introductory modules, and at first you might get confused: what is the distinction between the two categories of ‘introductory modules’ and “1k mods”? Well, introductory modules are a subset. While all introductory modules are 1k mods, not all 1k modules are introductory. Additional 1k modules you can consider include those with the GESS code. GESS modules teach you more about Singapore and Singapore’s political, economic and diplomatic ties both within Singapore and with other countries. For example, GESS1004 examines Singapore’s diplomatic ties with India in both the past and the present. I am taking GESS1004 this semester and can say that it is not that bad a module. The workload is quite manageable: there are two essays and one group presentation, and you just have to participate in class. So do try and speak at least once every tutorial. If you do the above decently, you can score relatively well for this module. Based on my experience, I strongly recommend you try GESS modules if you are looking to clear safer modules. However, note that a lot of these GESS modules are related to basic politics, economics and writing. If this is not your passion, or if you don’t feel confident in your writing ability, you might want to consider other modules instead. But if you don’t mind these things, consider taking at least one GESS module some time in your undergraduate career.

3. CS/CU Modules

These modules are the most special within NUS, and also some of the rarest you can find. CS/CU stands for pass/fail, meaning that these modules only have two outcomes: pass or fail. There is no grade you obtain, no need to worry about a bell curve and getting that “A”, or any other concerns that come with normal modules. Although pass/fail might sound scary because “what if I fail”, these modules legitimately require minimal effort to complete. You simply fulfil the basic requirements: show up to class, participate a bit, finish the assignments. Do all these and you are pretty much going to pass. Some of you might worry about failing but based on reviews of CS/CU modules, literally everyone passes. However, these modules are often difficult to find because there are so few of them (for good reason). To assist you, I have provided this link to a reddit post, where the CS/CU modules within NUS are listed. You will notice that one of them is a GESS pillar module: GESS1035. That is another GESS module that I am currently taking, and I can confirm that it really needs minimal effort. For GESS1035, I simply watch pre-recorded lecture videos, show up to tutorial once every two weeks, do one group presentation, and write one reflection for every tutorial. It might sound like a lot, but you need to remember that it’s a pass/fail: as long as I complete the assignment, I pass. It doesn’t matter how good your reflection is, and you don’t have to put a lot of effort in researching and coming up with innovative critical thinking. If you do the basics, you pass. Pass/fail modules also means that your CAP won’t be affected. This is especially relevant to those who are in year two and above. In year one, you will most likely be busy with CHS modules and your major modules anyway, and won’t have any space for electives. However, when you reach year two, you need to start putting them in your plan. The only problem is, you need to be careful when choosing these electives because you can only S/U three modules for the next three years. This means that you need to choose your electives wisely: choose electives where you can actually score and obtain at least an “A-“ in. At this level, any tiny problematic grade can affect your overall CAP, and one “B-“ can pull your CAP down quite a bit. By choosing pass/fail modules, you help yourself freeze your CAP. Most undergraduates end up with at least a 4.0 after year 1, and if you take CS/CU modules you have one less module to worry about. Yes, your grade won’t increase, but there is no risk of it dropping either. And honestly, it is much more likely that your CAP decreases, which is why pass/fail modules are literal lifesavers.

4. Modules that you are Passionate About

The previous three recommendations all centered around maintaining good grades. And there is, of course, nothing wrong with wanting to keep up a high CAP. However, I suspect there are people like me out there who genuinely have an interest in learning. In university, you get the opportunity to learn so much about the world and to really dive deep into topics you likely never learnt about in secondary or JC. Because of this, a lot of my electives are based on my own passions. And for this final section, I would just like to share some of the modules I have taken so far, and why I recommend them to everyone. Out of all the UEs I have completed so far, the two that are not GESS-related modules are “Introduction to Social Work” (SW1101E) and “Struggle for Modern China” (HY2207). Both topics are passions of mine, and I highly recommend them. For SW1101E, I think it is important to have a basic overview of the social work system in Singapore. Many of us might hear of social problems and see facilities like Family Service Centres in our neighbourhoods, but not many of us have an in-depth knowledge of the overall systems and the actual work behind the scenes. I think this module gives a very brief overview, and although you can learn much more in a social work internship, it is still an opportunity for those interested in the social sector. For HY2207, I strongly recommend it. I am not the best historian and haven’t taken a history class ever since Secondary Two. However, I wanted to better understand the current political climate of China, and to do so I needed to understand China’s history. I am taking this module under Professor Kung and genuinely enjoy his teaching style. He is very passionate about the subject and is willing to answer any questions I have, no matter how stupid I perceive them to be. The module is also very comprehensive and provides a very good background and overview. The readings are engaging, and although they are long, they help you critically think about the state of China at that period in time. Overall, for anyone who wants to better understand the current global superpower, I think this module is the starting point. And that’s it from me! Hope to see you all next time!

Surprising subjects 6 highly successful CEOs studied

When we think of successful CEOs, we often assume they studied business, economics, or finance. However, many incredibly successful business leaders actually have degrees that may not seem immediately relevant to their line of work. Some of the most innovative and creative leaders have anthropology, philosophy, and even art history backgrounds! Here are some surprising subjects famous CEOs studied and the ways their diverse backgrounds contributed to their success.

1) Steve Jobs – Calligraphy

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., dropped out of Reed College after just one semester. However, he continued taking classes that interested him, including calligraphy. Although calligraphy seems odd for someone who would go on to revolutionize the tech industry, the class was where Jobs learnt about sans serif and serif typefaces and other takeaways that inspired many of the typography and design elements characteristic of Apple products.

2) Howard Schultz – Communications

Howard Schultz, current interim CEO and former CEO of Starbucks, earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Northern Michigan University. While this degree may not seem particularly unusual, Schultz’s background in marketing and advertising helped him transform Starbucks into the global brand it is today. He has launched several innovative marketing strategies, such as creating a “third place” between home and work, that helped to make the coffee chain a cultural phenomenon. Schultz is especially known for being a transformational leader who delivers compelling messages: in 2008, he served as communicator-in-chief during a Starbucks North American four-day leadership conference. 10,000 managers were in attendance and left galvanised with “a tidal wave of energy” that turned the then-troubled chain around[i].

3) Susan Wojcicki – History and Literature

Susan Wojcicki, the former CEO of YouTube, earned a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. History and Literature may not seem particularly relevant to the tech industry, but Wojcicki’s background in storytelling and analysis has helped her to shape the way that YouTube presents and distributes content. Wojcicki has emphasized the importance of engaging with users and understanding their interests to create a popular and profitable platform.
Wojcicki also ventured beyond her degree to take an introductory computer science course — CS50 — that changed her life and led her to Silicon Valley. Take the chance, like her, to explore different subjects through unrestricted electives: you may find a newfound passion or future career path!

4) Stewart Butterfield – Philosophy

Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of the popular workplace communication tool Slack, earned a degree in Philosophy from the University of Victoria. Butterfield has credited his philosophical background with helping him think creatively and critically about problems. Butterfield’s philosophy degree enabled him to approach design and business holistically and ethically. In a cover story with Forbes, Butterfield shared: “I learned how to write really clearly [through philosophy]. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true — like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces — until they realized that it wasn’t true”[ii].

5) Mark Parker – Political Science

Did you know that Mark Parker, former CEO of Nike, studied Political Science in Penn State University? Parker’s background in politics and policy-making probably helped him better navigate the complex global market Nike operates. In fact, he has emphasized the importance of understanding global cultures and politics in order to create a brand that resonates with consumers worldwide. He also had “an appetite for learning” and a desire to “be exposed to everything” from biology to the liberal arts[iii]. We say this is a great attitude to emulate: just like Steve Jobs, you never know when that random piece of knowledge comes in handy!

6) Indra Nooyi – Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, earned Bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics from Madras Christian College in India. Nooyi’s science and math background helped her think critically and analytically about business problems. She has credited her scientific training with helping her to understand complex data and develop innovative solutions to business challenges. In a podcast with Freaknomics Radio[iv], she shares the benefits of a STEM background: “One of the things that my experience has taught me is that if you are trained as a scientist in your youth — through your high school and college — if you stay with the STEM disciplines, you can learn pretty much all of the subjects as you move along in life. And your scientific disciplines play a very important role, and ground you very well as you move into positions of higher and higher authority, whatever the job is.” Science students, are you encouraged yet? We hope this shows you how your degree does not define your career path! By pursuing your passions and taking courses that interest you, you might just stand out in your field and achieve success in unexpected ways — just like these CEOs did.   [i] [ii] [iii] [iv]

5 female style influencers for university grads building a work wardrobe

As a university student, it may feel too early to start thinking about what you’ll wear to your future job. However, the move from university to the workforce can happen quickly, and building a classic wardrobe that transitions with you is essential. This consists of versatile and timeless pieces that can be worn across multiple occasions. It is a smart investment that will save you time and money in the long run. I wish I was an expert in fashion and clothing, but I am not. Thankfully, however, there are a few fashion and lifestyle content creators I follow who specialise in just that! Here are 5 individuals who can help you create a professional and stylish wardrobe, that gives you the confidence you need to succeed in your career.

1) Lydia Jane Tomlinson

Instagram|YouTube One of the key things that sets Lydia apart from other style influencers is her ability to mix high-end designer pieces with affordable, accessible fashion. She also focuses on creating looks revolving around key pieces a person owns. This is particularly useful for students who have a limited budget. While Lydia hails from the UK, which causes some of her outfit styles to be unapplicable for our tropical weather, her summer style videos offer great ideas! Need ideas for how to wear ballet flats? She has a video on that. Want to know how to style your white shirt 5 ways? There’s a video on that, too.
For creative uses of layering and accessories to refresh their existing wardrobe, without breaking the bank, do check her channel or Instagram out!

2) Kaiti Yoo

Instagram|YouTube Watch one of Kaiti Yoo’s videos, and you’ll soon find yourself down an unescapable rabbit hole. You’ll chime right on time to her opening line in no time. (It’s a very catchy “Hey you, it’s Kaiti Yoo”!) Fresh out of university, Kaiti feels like a very relatable peer. She’s shared about her struggles with body image, her life at university, finding an apartment and of course, styling guides. She feels like a friend. You’ll come for the style tips but stay for her humour and candour. Kaiti’s styling videos guide you on building a wardrobe you’ll enjoy and finding pieces that can be mixed and matched for maximum utility. Her outfit suggestions may work better for those in careers with less formal or rigid dress codes.
For some fun ideas, check out her videos where she styles herself after book characters!

3) Audrey Coyne

Instagram|YouTube Audrey Coyne exudes elegance and class in her style videos. The style influencer classifies her personal style to be “classic”, “modern”, “relaxed” and “elegant”, so her videos are ones to watch when you want some looks that are timeless. For small pops of colour, Audrey uses accessories; her wardrobe consists primarily of neutrals. In her channel, she introduces insightful ways to decide what are essentials and how to purchase “smart buys”. One of them is to ask yourself what you’d purchase immediately if you lost your entire wardrobe:
Like the other style influencers on the list, Audrey’s looks are inspired by the changing seasons. Don’t let that stop you from exploring her content, though! Her video on classic colour combinations, for example, is definitely one to watch.

4) Jean Wang

Instagram|YouTube For petite Asian girls, Jean Wang is a great individual to reference. She reviews petite-friendly clothing on her blog, shares work wardrobe advice everyone can learn from, and also covers other aspects such as hair. She also has lifestyle advice that make good reads, such as how to hang knit sweaters to prevent stretch.
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A post shared by Jean | Extra Petite Blog (@jeanwang)

She updates her blog and Instagram frequently, so you can keep updated there!

5) Miss Louie

Instagram|YouTube Another petite fashion blogger, Erica has several suitable fashion videos and posts you can refer to! Most impressively, she has a video sharing how to get 42 outfits from 12 pieces. That’s not our focus, here, however. What I recommend are her videos on basic work outfit ideas, like this one:
She also shares back-to-school outfit ideas you can try out now to see how far you can stretch your current wardrobe. Remember, building a work wardrobe is an investment, so take the time to find pieces that are versatile, durable, and well-made. And don’t forget to have fun with it! Experiment with different styles and colours to find looks that make you feel confident and empowered. We hope that these fashion style influencer recommendations will be useful in jumpstarting this effort!

9 Microsoft Word Tips to Make Assignment Rushing Less Painful

As students, we can’t go a week without using Microsoft Word. We’ve all grown up using the word processor, and are deeply familiar with its blue-themed interface and Quick Access Toolbar. Here’s the thing: there are quite a few tricks Word has up its sleeve! Utilising them will reduce stress levels when assignment deadlines are right around the corner. Here are a few we think you should know.

1) Creating Custom Shortcuts

Whether you study Sciences, Engineering, or Humanities, there are some go-to symbols or styles you’ll use. Instead of manually configuring your document each time, or googling the internet to copy-and-paste an em-dash (that’s me), create a custom shortcut you won’t forget! Here’s how you do this: Windows:
  1. Go to FileOptionsCustomize Ribbon OR Press ALT+F, T
  2. Go to the “Customize Ribbon” tab, then select “Customize” at the bottom left
Image credits: Microsoft
  1. Assign the command for what you desire and choose something easier to remember. Word will inform you if the shortcut is already taken: replace it if it’s not one you use regularly! You can also try out shortcuts until you find one that’s unassigned.
Image credits: Microsoft
  1. Go to ToolsCustomize Keyboard (Mac)
  2. 2. Assign the command for what you desire. Word will inform you if the shortcut is already taken: replace it if it’s not one you use regularly! You can also use an unassigned one.
That’s it! Pretty simple, isn’t it? A quick tip: You can restrict the shortcut changes to the document you’re working on! Just select it from the drop-down menu before saving your changes.

2) Use Quick Parts

Write articles that begin with the same opening? Does your assignment require a standard disclaimer paragraph you find yourself opening previous assignments to copy and paste, over and over? Quick Parts (Windows) helps you cut down these steps! Simply highlight the text you want to save, go to the “Insert” tab, and click on “Quick Parts” > “Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery.All saved text, or parts, will be stored in alphabetical order. Mac users can try out AutoText, which is also under the Insert tab:

3) Use the Spike function

This little-known function will save you from a lot of stress when rearranging your essays or dissertations! Named after the sharp, pointy, old-school paper holders that you will still spot at restaurants or offices, the function allows you to cut and paste multiple items at once. It’s really handy when you need to gather or combine important data, for example. Here’s how you do it:
  • Highlight the text you want, then press Ctrl-F3 (Windows) or Command-Fn-F3 (Mac)
  • Repeat for the other chunks of text
  • To paste, press Ctrl+Shift+F3 (Windows) or Command+Shift+Fn+F3
That’s it! Do note that the text portions are cut and not copied. Share this tip with your friends to make their lives easier, too.

4) Format Painting

We all know how tedious it can be to format a document. Well, fear not, because Microsoft Word’s Format Painter is here to save the day! The Format Painter is like a magic wand for formatting. It can copy all kinds of styles, like fonts, colours, and spacing, from one part of your document to another. No more spending hours tweaking the same styles over and over again! You can even use the Format Painter on other things besides text, like tables, images, and shapes. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of formatting tools. Here’s how it works: you select some text or an object with a formatting style you like, click the Format Painter button and then paint over the text or object you want to apply the formatting to. Easy peasy! Or, you:
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + C for Windows or CommandShift + C on a Mac
  • Select your text or graphics
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + V for Windows or CommandShift + V on a Mac
So, next time you’re struggling with formatting your document with limited time to spare, remember the Format Painter and let it work its magic. You will reduce the likelihood of losing marks due to format issues (and be one step closer to that “A” grade).

5) Split View

Microsoft Word Split View is a helpful feature if you need to work on multiple parts of your assignment simultaneously. With Split View, you can view and edit different sections of your document side-by-side, without having to constantly scroll up and down! To activate Split View, simply go to the View tab on the Microsoft Word ribbon and click on the Split button. This will divide the screen into two separate panes, each displaying a different part of your document. You can also drag the divider bar to adjust the size of each pane to your liking. Split View can be especially useful for if you need to compare different sections of your work. For example, you can use Split View to view the introduction while the other pane displays the conclusion. This way, you can easily reference and make sure the two sections flow and are stylistically similar, without having to scroll through the whole document. This can help you stay focused too!

6) Adding Placeholder Text

Do you need to format your document first before it’s complete? Or some filler text while you figure out what to write for a section? Just type “=Lorem()”, press enter, and you’ll have what you need! This familiar paragraph, specifically:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci. Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue. Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy.
  If this isn’t sufficient, here’s another shortcut you can try! “=rand(paragraphs,sentences)” lets you customise the amount of dummy text you need, as well as its length. Let’s say you require two paragraphs with an average length of three sentences each. Word can generate that for you! Here’s the result of using “=rand(2,3)”:
Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document. To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header and sidebar. Click Insert, then choose the elements you want from the different galleries.
You’ll have to space out the paragraphs yourself, but isn’t this nifty? Give it a try!

7) Shrink One Page

Remember when you needed to print documents or readings, but had a line or two on the next page? You’d do your best to reduce font sizes or remove the spacing so that everything fits for easier reference — or just to save paper. To make things quicker, here’s what you can do:
  • Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar (Windows) or Word > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar > select Ribbon or Toolbar (Mac)
  • Choose the tab you want it to fall under and create a custom group for it
You’re now good to go!

8) Double-click to Teleport

Microsoft Word is very much like a treasure box: the more you use it, the more you discover just how much it has to offer. Perhaps everyone else knows this hack, but I was today years old when I discovered you could simply double-click on a space to type there directly! Like so: Do test this out for yourself!

9) Document Readability

Last but not least (for this article), did you know that Microsoft Word can analyse your document and provide you with a range of readability statistics, including the Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level? Scoring 90 to 100 points means that your assignment is readable by a 10-year-old or fourth-grade US student. The higher the score, the easier your message is to understand! Aim for around 60 points. To find out the readability level:
  • Enable “Show Readability Statistics” under “Spelling and Grammar”
I hope you’ve learnt some cool tips that you’ll put to use immediately the same way I have (the “em dash” symbol is now linked to the “Command+9” shortcut for me), that will make your assignment and work crunching easier! If you’ve any tips that aren’t shared here, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section! Knowledge is power.

The Role of Extracurricular Activities in University

Want to enjoy your university life? Here are 5 Reasons every student should participate in an extracurricular activity at university. “Where do I have time to study and join CCAs? There are so many tests and readings to do, and how will I balance my social life and maintain my grades?” As a student, I have complained about the “study-life” balance at university. It is already enough that we must withstand the gruelling hours of mugging for our grades, and now to join an extracurricular activity? It is impossible! Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in shaping students’ overall development. Various CCAs allow them to explore their interests, develop soft skills, and gain valuable life experiences. They also help students to build connections with their peers and discover new communities! Will you benefit from participating in a CCA? Read on to find out more!

Discovering Newfound Interests and Passion

One of the key benefits that students gain from extracurricular activities is exploring their interests and passions. For example, a mechanical engineering student may love singing, but his course does not allow him to do so. Participating in an arts CCA will give him an outlet to pursue his passion. Singapore’s education environment is getting more intense each year, with students needing help to keep up with academics. Worries about securing a promising career, navigating adulthood and managing their financing leave no room for their passion. Joining a CCA should be manageable for students’ lives. These activities aim to invite and encourage students to take a breather away from the overwhelming demands of their courses. When selecting from the various choices available in university, consider your interest and unfulfilled passions that you have always wanted to try. A rising “trend” of students choosing CCAs may give them the most leadership points or whichever looks good on their resume. Though these may sound beneficial in future job prospects, the probability of sticking with their attendance may be low. Be bold and choose something that is yet to be popular it aligns with your interests. Do what makes you happy!

Develop New Skills

In addition to allowing students to explore their interests, extracurricular activities also allow students to develop new skills. CCAs help students to pursue their interests in a structured educational setting while allowing them the freedom to build their skills and talents. For example, students can take on leadership positions through extracurricular activities to build communication and leadership skills. However, leadership positions may sound daunting to students, especially those more reserved. Taking part in club activities and being on their subcommittee demonstrates leadership qualities! Teamwork is also an essential skill that all students need to possess. Students learn to work together to achieve a common goal when participating in club functions, activities and competitions. Engaging in these activities teaches them the importance of collaboration and how to work and lead a group of people effectively. For example, students who participate in a debate club can build their public speaking and critical thinking skills. In contrast, students who participate in a sports team can develop their physical fitness and teamwork skills. These are easily transferable to areas outside of academics, making students more successful in their careers and personal life. In addition, by taking on roles of leadership and responsibility, they learn how to manage time and delegate tasks.

Build Connections with Peers and Communities

Social life in university is crucial to ensure you have the right peers to support and build beautiful memories while at school. Joining CCAs help students to make connections with their peers and communities. For example, students participating in a drama and art club must attend regular sessions to rehearse and workshop their acts. Working closely with other actors, directors, and crew members gives students a sense of belonging. By joining clubs and organisations, students can find a network of peers with common interests. Similarly, students who participate in community clubs work with others who share their commitment to service. These connections can be valuable for students as they transition into the workforce, as they often provide networking and professional development opportunities. Again, this can lead to forming meaningful relationships, fostering self-esteem and providing a sense of community.

Self-Improvement and Development

Extracurricular activities help students to become well-rounded individuals. By participating in activities such as sports, cultural activities, and student unions, students learn how to think critically and communicate effectively. This can be beneficial when applying for jobs or graduate school, as employers and admissions officers look for applicants with a track record of leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving. In addition, students can develop their intellect, physical abilities, creativity, and social skills by participating in various activities. This holistic development is beneficial as it can help students to become more successful in their future careers and personal lives. In conclusion, extracurricular activities are crucial to ensure students get holistic development. They provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop new skills, and gain valuable life experiences. They also help students to build connections with their peers and communities and to become well-rounded individuals. Therefore, students need to take advantage of the extracurricular activities available, as they can significantly enhance their college experience and personal growth.

Personal Experience with University CCAs

CCAs were the last thing on my mind when I entered NTU. I was overwhelmed by the workload and the number of readings to do each week. During the NTU CCA fair in 2021, I was just walking around as a freshie exploring the diverse range of CCAs for students. There was something for everyone, and signing up for more than one was so tempting. Fortunately, my senior advised me to choose something I was passionate about and not to view CCA as a “chore”. It really shifted my mindset on the purpose of CCAs at the University. Some do it for the points, others for the experience. Eventually, I joined a CCA in Year Two, as I wanted to ease myself into my studies without burning out. I chose NTU Ephiphany, a theatre and production club I dearly enjoy. A tip to all students: school life is supposed to be a significant period of your life. Do what you love, and you’ll create beautiful memories!

How to get over mistakes

Are you very hard on yourself? Do you spend your nights sleepless, thinking about all the “stupid” things you’ve done? I feel you because that’s me. I wish there were a magic wand that waves our mistakes away, but there is no such panacea. Time helps, but telling you this sounds like a useless platitude because, seriously, who knows how much time it’ll take? Here are some perspectives that might, though.

A missed take

Reframing mistakes as “missed takes” was something I learnt from a lecturer, now a cherished friend, during my schooling days. When you film a video or take a picture, you might need multiple tries before snapping something you’re comfortable posting or keeping. Why, then, wouldn’t you stumble a bit before becoming better at project management or presentations, or picking up a new skill, or becoming a better person? It takes a few tries to get somewhere good. There’s also a reason our grandparents or elders can give us sage advice: they have had many more “missed takes” than we have. Train your mind to autocorrect “mistake” to “missed take”. You can improve, no matter how big the issue or problem is! It’s a “missed take”, an opportunity to learn and be better the next round.

Look Toward the Future

Did you know that Mark Manson, the author of the bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, has a blog with great posts? He shares thoughts worth mulling over in one titled “How to Fix Your Life”.

This book

  1. Shame is “past-obsessed”, and we can redirect our energy to becoming “future-obsessed”.
  2. It’s impossible to ruin your life.
  3. Sometimes, what we think cannot be fixed shouldn’t be focused on; we can divert our attention to building something new or improving something else. These breakthroughs improve our lives and mental well-being.
Check out his post on this and his other posts too! They’re great food for thought and have helped me snap out of my worry and frustrations. When I get deep into my mistakes, I pull a post or two to reread. It helps.

So What?

Sometimes, the only way to convince yourself the mistake is not the end of you is to ask yourself “so what”. Keep asking yourself this until you can’t. This helps you think logically and not ruminate. Example: You messed up a slide in your presentation and ended up with an awkward silence > So what? > My professionalism is down the drain, and I am embarrassed. > So what? > I will probably lose marks, and my lecturer thinks I suck (which is probably overthinking). > So what? > I will have to work super hard for my finals or the next assignment. > Is it something of huge consequence? Can I make things better? > Yes. > Then why dwell on it too much? If you’ve done your work diligently and this is the first “major” mistake you’ve made, it won’t erase all the good work you’ve done so far. Don’t sweat over it too much. The same goes for wearing your shirt inside out. In the grand scheme of things, these are tiny. Will you remember you did these in five years? I think not. Will others remember these things in five years? Highly improbable: everyone has a lot on their minds to remember. Stewing over the mistake makes it bigger than it really is. If need be, distract yourself with something nice. Let yourself think about it, but let it go after.

Sleep on it

Literally and figuratively. Dwelling on your mistakes tires you out physically and mentally. Not getting enough rest short-circuits your brain and prevents you from thinking well and processing things properly. Sleep on the issue, and when you wake up in the morning, you will feel well-rested and ready to tackle your concerns properly. One of my favourite sayings I’ve been working hard to internalise is this: The sun will rise, and tomorrow we will try again”. Tomorrow is a new day, and there is always a new beginning. Do not live in the past until you cannot see the many chances to try again! You will have many days to work hard, so do not fret too much. Get some quality rest or naps, if need be, and sleep your problems away temporarily. Then get up the next day and get ready to conquer! I hope you feel a little more encouraged after reading this article. Let’s work hard to let our “missed takes” go and become the best and happier people we can be!

9 Tips to Score in Presentations

Want to keep posted on our latest articles/tertiary education updates? Join our telegram channel! We do a weekly roundup — absolutely no spam, we promise. Presentations are part and parcel of any University degree. Some modules are Presentation-intensive, and some may not have it at all! Generally, making beautiful and efficient slides is key to delivering your message to (and impressing) any Professor. Here are 9 tips to make your Presentations much better!

1) No Prezi

Using Prezi back in Secondary School or JC was the “boomz” for some. However, in Uni, this does not work anymore. Many Professors complain of dizzying animations and superfluous transitions. Plus, it distracts the Professor from the real message you want to deliver, so stop using Prezi! PowerPoint or Keynote are the top picks for today. If alternate presentation applications such as Canva suit your needs, go ahead and give it a try! You should still try and master Powerpoint, however: it’s still the go-to for many workplaces and will save you from some stress in the future. You can find free Powerpoint courses on course platforms like Udemy, and even Instagram accounts, teaching you helpful hacks. Try these hacks out when you are on break!

2) Abuse PowerPoint’s “Morph” Transition

Just because we do not want to distract the Professor with animations (or prevent him from vomiting) does not mean we remove animations entirely! If you are a PowerPoint user like me (no money for Mac), the Morph transition is a stunning tool to beautify slide animations subtly. It quietly rearranges mutual objects from your current slide into the position of your next slide, fading non-mutual objects away. Morph

3) Download Relevant PowerPoint/Keynote templates!

The default selection of templates works, but do you really want to settle for a template that the Professor has seen countless times? You can Google “free xxx template download for PowerPoint/Keynote”, with xxx being the theme of your presentation. There are some astounding templates out there, including some animated ones for your convenience! Slidesgo is a good place to begin your template search.

4) Use a Progress Tracker

Professors and fellow classmates often get lost about how far in you are for your presentation. Are you talking about the Problem Statement or Challenges faced? Professors may have had a long, hard day, and their attention span may not be perfect too. To help all — consider including a Progress Tracker to show your Presentation’s progress! This also makes your slides look more professional and impressive. Here is an example for your reference. Tracker

5) Graphics and Keywords over lengthy paragraphs

Longwinded paragraphs are fine, but do you think your Professor will really be able to see those small words on the screen? After a long day at work, would he bother to read that information that you’ll probably just read off? As the adage goes, a Picture paints a thousand words. Using Graphics makes it visually easier for the Professor to understand your paragraph, while showing the Keywords only makes it succinct and minimalist. Aesthetically pleasing, while very effective for your Professor’s understanding. You can explore corporate presentations for inspiration, and break them down to find out why you like them — or otherwise. Graphics and Keywords Here’s one possible hack to help you gauge how much text goes on screen: the “5/5/5” rule! Here’s what 5/5/5 stands for:
  • 5 words or less for each line of text
  • (No more than) 5 lines of text for each slide
  • 5 such slides in a row OR no more than 5 text-heavy slides at one go
There is another rule called the “10/20/30” rule. This rule sees you:
  • Use no more than 10 slides
  • Present within 20 minutes
  • Have text bigger than font size 30
While these may be called “rules”, treat them as guidelines you can reference! Not everything will be suitable for your presentation or purposes.

6) Know your Colour schemes

Colours can be used to aid readability or enhance the aesthetics of your presentation. It can even be used to attract attention when the class gets tired of seeing presentation after presentation! To achieve this, let’s break down colours into two general categories: Warm and Cool. WARMCOOL The idea is to contrast your background with your font colour to make the words stand out! You can also achieve greater contrast by layering your background with a translucent white/black colour.
  1. Click on the Insert tab > Shapes
  2. Select the desired shape
  3. Right-click on the shape, click Format Shape
  4. Select Line > No Line
  5. Select Solid Fill > Select White or Black > Set Transparency 75%
  6. Stretch the image to overlay your desired areas.
on the right Generally, many students know the importance of using contrasting colours to enhance readability. However, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. Avoid Red/Blue or Red/Green contrasts, they strain the eye and make it very uncomfortable to read. Take a look for yourself! strains the eye

6.5) Colour Theme-ing

Another way to utilise colour schemes to great effect is theme-ing. Using thematic colours enhances the aesthetics of your presentation while making it look more professional. For example, using Red and Purple for a presentation on Environmental Health doesn’t make sense. Green and brown, however, have earthy undertones and make your presentation more coherent. You can refer to this list as a rough guide!
Colour General Feelings Evoked
Black Heavy, technical, formal, death, enigmatism, mystery
Brown Earth, outdoors, books, leather
Blue Peace, tranquillity, trust, confidence, security
Purple Royalty, wisdom, spirituality
Green Nature, environment, health, reptiles, supernatural
Gray Conservative, practical, reliability, ambiguity, metal, ageing
Red Passion, love, intensity, heat, aggression, national affairs
Orange Warmth, expansive, flamboyant, food, networking, fun
Yellow Optimism, happiness, idealism, imagination, academic, danger
White Purity, holiness, cleanliness, simplicity, minimalism
  Here are a few colour concepts to watch out for:
  • Triadic Colours

    • Colours are evenly spaced across the colour wheel in a triangular shape. This combination uses one colour as the dominant colour, and the other two as accent colours. These colours are usually more vibrant. and make for aesthetic combinations.
      • Examples: Red – Blue – Yellow
  • Complementary Colours

    • Colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. One colour should be dominant, the other an accent, and choice of colours not too jarring to the eyes. Play around with different shades or tints!
      • Examples: Blue – Orange, Purple – Green
  • Analogous Colours

    • This refers to colours beside each other in the colour wheel. They are pleasing to the eyes due to their appearance in the natural world. Use one colour as the main, and the other two as accents or highlights.
      • Examples: Red – Orange – Yellow, Green – blue – purple
  • Monochromatic Colours  

    • By this, we don’t mean just black – grey – white! You pick one colour and harness its various tints or shades for this. This helps you achieve consistency and removes concerns that colours may clash. Toggle the amount of black, white and grey to achieve pretty hues!

7) Embed multimedia

Consider incorporating a short video or gif, if appropriate, if your presentation comes after many others. They’re a great way to engage your audience and perk them up after walls of text, especially if the content helps reinforce your next point or message! If you are presenting for a comms module, for example, you could share a short ad that caught your attention recently at the beginning to get everyone excited.

8) Include quizzes or questions

If you are not defending a thesis, and your presentation is just part of a class project, consider increasing participation via quick quizzes and questions! They could be fun ones asking the audience to guess the answer to surprising facts or just to share how they feel about the presentation thus far. You could also use platforms such as Mentimeter to insert a slide (via a plugin), collecting their questions in real time! It helps the audience feel more invested in what you talk about and gives them an opportunity to contribute as well. They can also upvote the questions they really want answers to, which gives you a gauge of how well they digest the content. Involve your audience and build rapport! Make them your allies!

9) Go for Sans Serif fonts

Sans serif fonts like Roboto, Helvetica and Calibri are great for presentations due to their readability across different screen sizes and resolutions. They tend to be wider and more uniform, making them easier for the audience’s eyes to follow! Sans serif fonts are great for headings, titles and captions. Of course, you can use serif fonts for contrast, too, if they are suitable, but limit font varieties to two for consistency. Tip: If you will not be using your laptop to present, or it’s a group presentation needing multiple people to edit, go for standard fonts available across all operating systems and programmes. This will prevent your font from changing and the added stress.

Final thoughts

Many teams underestimate the importance of having good slides. Some justify their lack of preparation for slides with, “We have the content, no need spoil market”. However, good slides go further than just “Spoiling market”. Content is King, but presentations are a visual aid; we are better are remembering information when it is presented to us visually. What use is fantastic content when the Professor is overloaded with information, thus missing key points of your presentation? Furthermore, doing good slides shows the Professor that more effort was invested, which would likely leave a better impression. Hence, it may be worth the additional half an hour to curate and refine your slides before a presentation carefully.